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Image of cupid and heartNot everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people — even stolen pictures of real military personnel. They profess their love quickly. And they tug at your heartstrings with made-up stories about how they need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Why all of the tricks? They’re looking to steal your money.

As if all that isn’t bad enough, romance scammers are now involving their victims in online bank fraud. Here’s how it works: The scammers set up dating profiles to meet potential victims. After they form a “relationship,” they come up with reasons to ask their love interest to set up a new bank account. The scammers transfer stolen money into the new account, and then tell their victims to wire the money out of the country. Victims think they’re just helping out their soulmate, never realizing they’re aiding and abetting a crime.  

Here are some warning signs that an online love interest might be a fake. They ask you to:

  • chat off of the dating site immediately, using personal email, text, or phone
  • wire money using Western Union or Money Gram
  • set up a new bank account

Did you know you can do an image search of your love interest’s photo in your favorite search engine? If you do an image search and the person’s photo appears under several different names, you’re probably dealing with a scammer. And if the person’s online profile disappears a few days after they meet you, that’s another tip-off.

Here’s the real deal: Don’t send money to someone you met online — for any reason. If your online sweetheart asks for money, you can expect it’s a scam.

Unfortunately, online dating scams are all too common. There may be tens of thousands of victims, and only a small fraction report it to the FTC. If this happens to you, please report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

13794 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

apple20
October 28, 2020
I have been talking to a Wilton Santiago. He claims he is in the UN Peace Military out of the states for the US Army. Yet he has an accent. I called him out on being a scammer. He had asked for money for an children's fund in Africa. I said no. He now is making threats to me. What should I do?
Macy
November 24, 2020

In reply to by apple20

I don't think there's much truth in their threats so block him and delete your profile if necessary so he can't contact you. If he's in Africa, he can't do anything anyway.
I'm No Fool
October 29, 2020
I've been talking to a guy called Mike Dave Rowe (Scott); has anyone had dealings with this one? He reckons to be in the US Military on a peace keeping mission somewhere in West Africa he doesn't know where exactly but suggested that I could send a care package to a red cross worker friend of his based in Nigeria as he couldn't give me his APO! He has sent me a parcel that I have got to pay for the shipping and it been over weight! He call's me baby, ask's me if I have eaten and tells me he love's God. I have called him out as a scammer he has yet to admit to this. He almost immediately after starting to talk to him he asked me how much I earned and has been asking for gift cards. It does sound nice hearing him call me "baby" telling me how much he loves me and everything else. However I wasn't born yesterday. I sent him an article about scammers so he know's I know his game. It's sad that people make a living from this activity. Especially when your falling head over heels in love!!!!
Davina13
November 08, 2020

In reply to by I'm No Fool

This does really sound like the guy I have been talking to since August 2020. He calls me baby & his Queen. He is very smooth. But unlike you I did give money. Have you a picture please.
Tine 51
October 29, 2020
What about a white male name Antonio Evans. In Syria a surgeon.
Msturner
October 29, 2020
Terry Bob on Instagram. Do anyone know him.
Sometimesdumb
October 29, 2020
Anyone talk to a guy from England that is Captain of a freight ship that wants to retire? Wants you to ask for his retirement and you pay the fee to end his contract?
Macy
November 24, 2020

In reply to by Sometimesdumb

People never need somebody else to ask for their retirement, and you never have to pay to end a contract. It's a scam, block him.
Paralegal74
October 29, 2020
Has anyone heard of a Mark Edward Kent in Nigeria and/or New York? I know he is a scammer but my friend is so desparate for love that she believes everything he says. She says that she has never given him money but I am 99% positive that she has. He has made plans to come to visit her several times over the past year and something ridiculous always happens to prevent him from coming. If anyone has any information on this guy, please let me know. Thank you!
icsga
October 29, 2020
I am new to the on-line dating scene, and met a gentleman (?) that supposedly live very close to me. He quickly professed to be in love with me, was very sweet and loving, good conversations, texted several times a day. Within a week of he was off to Cape Town to renovate a property into a guesthouse/B&B. He continued to text several times a day, and would often actually call to wake me up in the morning. We skyped one time. He claims his name is Ralph Fillon, has a 27 year old son named Harry. He claimed to own homes in Cumming GA, Albany NY and Cape May NJ. The phone number he is using does not have a name listed to it, I had a "deep" search done. I cannot find any record of him owning any property in any of the 3 cities. He is ghost on the internet, as is his son. How many 27 years old have no presence on the internet. When I started questioning him, he kept telling me to wait until he got home. I asked for a specific address of the homes he owned in Cumming and Albany and he would not give me the address. If he was legit, he would have been forthcoming with the information. He is using the phone number 929-277-2947, his skype sign on is ha.fink. Anyone else encounter this person?
B362527
October 29, 2020
Has anyone come across Perez Dylan Hall us Staff Sargeant was in Afghanistan and is now in Iraq? Both pare ts died. Has for young kids home with a caregiver Cecilia in Texas. Sound familiar?
Denisesd
October 29, 2020
Anyone run in to james w. on scrabble Picture looks like he is wearing hospital scrubs, salt and pepper beard. Can’t see his hair really since he has scrub hat on. Poor English Wants to get to know each other on another site. Hasn’t answered any of my questions.
Little goat
November 12, 2020

In reply to by Denisesd

He might be on the German dating site also or Facebook dating. I’ve seen several guys matching that description. The one in blue scrubs is on Facebook dating
Romeo1
November 15, 2020

In reply to by Denisesd

My wife has fallen for a scammer from Scrabble too. He quickly moved the conversation to the chat/phone app Hangouts and uses a generic gmail account. He goes by the name William Davis which I know is fake and uses an accomplice named Audrey Sydnor to pick up the money from Western Union. Apparently the Scrabble game is the new way to meet potential scam victims as she as received similar message from other guys on there too.
Sheera2021
April 20, 2021

In reply to by Romeo1

Tell me more. I have a William Davies from London.
Cindynew
October 29, 2020
Almost got me! Almost! Josh Chesterfield, birthdate given Oct 20, 1959. Lives in San Francisco. Widower for approx. 4 years. Really played up that part. Is out on a "ship" & temporarily li es in Hong Kong & says he's out there for a 6 week contract & is halfway thru. But he also talks about how they transfer oil. That would be an oil rig. I'm from Oklahoma & this is oil country. And reading thru some of these comments I see a lot of similar bs stories. He got all upset when I brought up scammers after lonely womens' money. Even used like 15 crying emojis. Accused me of making him out to be something he's not. Acted quite hurt. And that he wants us to be in a serious relationship. The one thing that set off alarms is that he asks all the questions & ignores mine. I just blocked him everywhere and cut him loose. He's on Facebook. At least for now. WATCH OUT!
Cryptocurrency
October 30, 2020
I was scammed using the tinder app by a asian guy saying he is from Hong Kong but is living in LA. He claims to have an export goods company in China. He doesn’t mention cryptocurrency until like a month in. He says he will teach me. Ended up losing 25k. Ladies don’t fall for that. Be aware
almost
October 30, 2020
Been talking to this guy for 3 months, from California, but assigned in London for a business contract. Says he is 31, blue eyes, with full sleeve tatts on right arm, and a small portion on his left shoulder. Asking me to pay for customs fee for his parcel. When I refused, he got mad.. waited for like a week or so, to tell me that he will be paying for the fee but i needed to buy him some itunes gift card. sounds familiar?
Duck
October 30, 2020
My mom is currently in a scammed relationship right now. This has been going for apparently several and I didn’t know about till a couple months ago when I had to deal with wire transfer dilemma involving her bank account where he transfer her $149,000 in stolen small business loan money. I got that situation sorted out by slipping a note to a bank teller when me and her went into the bank so she can all the money to him. It’s even shadier that he told me use the money to buy and transfer him bitcoins. I was forced to do all this because my mom is adamant that he is real but I told her many times he is not. He hasn’t even FaceTimed her once! He even lied and told the banker that was talking to him that he was a “loan officer”. I thought he told me he works with cars and oil companies but I already know that was a lie and him lying about being a “loan officer” didn’t make his situation any better. I found the real person who he his impersonating and I took that information and asked him about his hobbies and such since the real person he is impersonating does watching making as a hobby. He also works with cars but he’s a magazine editor so he drives these cars and write about them. He also does tech reviews. I asked the scammer regarding his hobbies and what activities he does in his spare time, he either doesn’t answer or gives a really vague question. As of right now, he is apparently coming to visit us today as in to see my mom or whatever but I doubt he’s ever coming. My mom got into another situation in the past where she went to Los Angeles to wait for this guy who never came and ended up wasting a ton of money on a hotel just to wait for him and she made my sister go with her. But I’m not going to lie, a part of me from my doubting side, is saying this is all real, he is really coming, and I’m taking out of proportions. I’m just worried is all. I’ve been dealing with this for a while now and it’s getting to me. Just wanted to tell you all my story. Thank you for taking the time to read it.
Neenee
October 30, 2020
How about anyone with a doctor that works with drs without boarders. We have talk on the phone and text but he says he is out of the country right now for 3 months nd wanted to quit texting and go to what’s up appt. he is widowed and lost his wife don’t know when never ask and then he lost his only daughter last year in a car accident but she left behind a 6 year old granddaughter that is being raised by her other grandmother.!
Sneaky 2015
October 31, 2020
I reported a man on POF and hangout. He is using Jorge Greggory and says he is in the military. He asked me to send 50.00 steam gift card to his daughter. Liar, no conscience thief
June Williams
October 31, 2020
Im going through the same thing and the thing about it Steven Patrick is white and africans always say to u my love my honey my dear he said he graduate N Y Oxford white talk real not my Baby and the english to many typo and disappeared for almost two days I'm 58 hes42 fine as all out doors! Girl's it's someone u can eat him up. He asked me last night for 200.00 to pay his iPhone. I'm on disability and when he said I had to use steam for my phone deja vu it happen to with a marine. This is Steven Patrick says his in a contract and can't leave until next year. That Man is to be handsome man he takes selfie and we it's him how is he getting in all his picture the same day and the back ground the same his one arm is always up. Need desperately need help.
thinker
October 31, 2020
Was messaged by “Marcus” from Morris, MN, on a dating app. After 4 days of brief chats, asked to go off the site. Agreed & 2 days later he contacted me. Sent rapid fire messages and a # of pics of the man from the app. Asked for a pic of me to verify it was actually me . Immediately asked what I am looking for in a man - when told I already answered that in messages on the app site, he replied that he was looking for inconsistencies as he was in military security and this was how they interrogate. Then sent a picture dressed in military gear. Said full name is Staff Sargent Marcus w Allen. Told me he had 2 daughters - the youngest who is 13 (told me she was 14 on the app) and older daughter who lives in Texas and works at Walmart. When I asked if he minded the distance between his home town and mine (it would be 5.6 hours driving distance) he said he was actually currently stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan Wrote: “To be sincere I’m in the military and I’ve been deployed here in Kabul ,Afghanistan for months now and I will be coming home in two weeks time. that’s why I want to meet my best half, the Queen to the throne of my heart to replace the void left by my late wife.” Then went on to say his 13 year old daughter lived with a nanny that he employs - sent pics of a little cutie who looks to be about 8 both alone and with him, as well as pics of his other daughter at what looks like a grad party with him, and a photo of a nurse with him who he claims is his dear, departed wife. When I commented that service in Kabul seemed to be pretty good, he said it’s because the military have things set up during certain hours only on weekends. Said he might not be able to contact me again for a little while. Told him I was in a vehicle with my daughter driving, so service seemed to be getting bad. So he said he had to go but would chat later. Looked up the phone # and it says it comes from Colorado, at some medical clinic. Looked for him on various social media but could not find him anywhere. Now I am worried that he, whoever they really are, will use my picture and my name to scam other people...
Bettrhiw do,I …
October 31, 2020
How do,I find out is some one is fake
jackie
November 01, 2020
Has anybody ever come by the name of James Mark Hermann or Scott Scharf? He is one and the same and is an extremely handsome guy. Attention!!! He s a scammer
Kit Kat
December 08, 2020

In reply to by jackie

Tell me more? What is his story? What does he do, where is the location? Where is he originally from?
Blondie55
November 01, 2020
Hi. Anyone been contacted by a mateo fabio. Italian lives in America. Civil engineer as are the others. Lived in Rome daughter out there living with his dad. Ex cheated on him. Sister and mum have died and now living in Manchester. When I asked why Manchester he said he liked the name. That’s not why you go to Manchester to work. Lots of reasons I thought he was scamming. Couldn’t name a comedian he liked. Didn’t know much about Rome where he had lived as was born. I am well travelled. He did not even know Manchester enough to say where he would take me on a night out. Several other flags. He is on pof
Jaded soul
November 01, 2020
Has anyone been contacted by Robert Mark? He hasn’t asked for money yet. He says he is lives in Bluefield, WV and has two children.
VMH
November 02, 2020
Recently went through this unfortunately, however, I quickly began to notice red flags such as 1) going exclusive without meeting in person and quickly 2) not wanting to do video calls 3) too open to quick about present and future (week one of interaction) about the future 4) concern around Whats shared to friends
Confused
November 02, 2020
The person is military, not asking for money, sent money on Amazon card to them(once), now is trying to send me a package from Syria shipping cost $3,000 to receive the package, I haven't accepted anything yet, have spoken to and video chatted with the person, he has sent pictures of him with his children, says he'll be back in the US in January, chat, and text all the time, he isn't asking me for money, only red flag is the shipping cost of the package, what do I do
Patricia Dixon
November 02, 2020
This is the spelling of his name Vasanta Jadhav. I reported it as a spam now his Facebook and messenger is locked out of my phone
Pris_Desx
November 03, 2020
Hi! I need some help, so I recently found out that my mum has been scammed nearly £3000. By a guy she had stupidly fell in love with after only talking to him for a month. He kept telling her that he was coming to live with her and they would start their new life together. But first he was sending a parcel over with his stuff(stupid that she fell for it I know) and that she had to pay £2100 to receive it. She has had multiple suicide attempts since and has been drinking and acting wreck-less non stop because she got herself into dept for him. It happened in august but I only found out recently.. Is there anything I could do?!
FTC Staff
November 09, 2020

In reply to by Pris_Desx

You can help law enforcement by reporting the people who were scamming her, and how she sent the money. If she sent money by wire transfer, contact the wire transfer service and report what happened. Your local law enforcement or social services agencies may have victim support or counseling services who could talk with your mother.

Tay.-/petty
November 03, 2020
Could they be scamming even if the sent a video saying “hello I’m real so if you don’t believe me then I don’t know what to tell you”??
tennessee true
November 03, 2020
Anyone been contacted by a guy named Greg Wilson from Ohio living on the oil riggs in Alabama...Says he is 78 and has a 15 year old daughter,,,Think heis hitting on my newly widowed sister in law?
Tad
November 04, 2020
BEWARE of man named Bernard Harvey, Madison Wisconsin. Just had 3 week fake relationship with him. Met on Christian Mingle, and he soon wanted me to be exclusive to only him and delete my online acct. He is supposedly structural engineer, working on construction project in Poland. Needed $5000 from me to help him get equipment released. Ding, ding, ding - scammer. We even prayed together daily. Be warned, they are clever even with Christian knowledge to trap you sadly.
bibica
November 04, 2020
I just met someone called berg Olsen he is a widower, a son 16-year-old very religious person, he said he wants to be with me the eternity, bald, black glasses in a very fancy car, I look for his photo but is unique... Please tell me if someone knows him
Helen
November 05, 2020
I meet a man on pof he said he works for the navy on sub and he has asked for my hand in marriage I see pitchers of him at work and at home but I dont have is number to ring him at says its not active his name is Mike hall I have got feelings for this man now and I need to no if its a scam can you please help me as worried about it
Ocean girl
November 05, 2020
Has anyone been contacted by a male from Miami Florida name is Antonio Vasquez 53 wife died 3 years ago in car accident . Has a son that is 11 but is living with his mom in Spain. He says he does interiors of homes he has asked for money haven’t given him any. He has a dog Louis he has asked for iTunes card which I bought stupidly but that is all he is ever getting.
MickyM
November 05, 2020
Yes, just recently scammed out about £700.00. Transferred using Western Union and MoneyGram. Fell for it hook, line and sinker. I feel very ashamed of myself!
Mary Anne
November 06, 2020
Has anyone encountered a petorleu engineer named Ashley Leigh who allegedly has a daughter named Lucie? Might live in Hawaii, but a British citizen?
Fooled and used
November 06, 2020
I am being fooled by a man named John smith says in stuck in London, He is widowed and has a 14 year old son in Ohio with grandmother. Always needs money wired to Ghana . He is oil rig engineer. His picture is of white German. Has scammed over one million dollars in 7 years. Says he is in love with me and is trying to get my to me to marry me, but customs wants him to pay 39k for taxes on his diamonds
kas008
November 06, 2020
I have met this guy online in Canada, within a week he says he has a job in Cyrus, Greece... I do have pictures. He has now asked if I would send him a new iPhone 11. I told him he could send me the money first, but the more I thinking about it all I am feeling uncomfortable it all. My gut says scam but he seems to be providing information to send it to. I don't know I'm torn
Susan
December 27, 2020

In reply to by kas008

My scammer's first request was for a new iPhone as well. Do not purchase it and send it to him. With all the current covid restrictions, you end up having to buy the iPhone online, which means you have to use your own Apple ID in the purchase process. Then he will want you to ship it to me. Expect that he will ask you to ship it to a mail forwarding service with a US address as there will be some excuse as to why you can't ship it directly to where he is. To ship it FedEx, you have to provide your own ID to verify shipper identity. So now the scammer has your personal information and address plus your Apple ID associated with the iPhone. After that, you will feel exposed and it will be hard to extract yourself when he starts asking for you to wire money to him.
DaisyCat
November 06, 2020
Anyone come across a Benjamin Meyer? I had been talking to him for just under 2 months. He contacted me via Match and moved quickly to WhatsApp. South African living in England, Widower, adopted 9 year old daughter living with his mum in Jo'burg. UK mobile phone number. 2 weeks in suddenly got a contract in Abu Dhabi, was out there for 3-4 weeks, got caught with the wrong paperwork trying to leave the country to come home. Spent 10 days in the immigration shelter, and then another week sorting out paperwork. On request he sent me a copy of his passport and utility bill ... now I know they were fake! Listened to all my instincts. Bizarrely, he is still in touch with me, supposedly suffering from Covid. I'm just seeing where this goes now ... What I am most upset about is wanting to know who the guy in the photos is because he is really gorgeous!! Biggest message is trust your instincts. They were screaming at me and I was trying to ignore them.
DaisyCat
January 18, 2021

In reply to by Lynn

I don't think it matters what I think he looks like - I'm pretty sure the photos were nicked from someone else's social media profile. But, he was about 5'10", brown/salt and pepper hair, really happy looking face, cute slightly upturned nose. Really good looking - I's have like to have known the real man whose photos were used!
scamwatch
November 06, 2020
Brazilian Obstetrician/Gynaecologist AND Oncologist. Shared photos of her 4 year old son. Wants to work in Australia as a Doctor. Divorced. Hmmm.